A web-blog (formerly known as Stu's Views and MS News), now published by MS Views and News, a patient advocacy organization. The information on this blog helps to Empower those affected by Multiple Sclerosis globally, with education, information, news and community resources.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) are diseases of the nervous system. They’re not the same, but they do have a lot of similarities.
Both MS and GBS are autoimmune diseases. This means they cause your body's immune system to attack its own tissues. They both start when the immune system attacks and damages something called myelin. That’s a layer of insulation that surrounds nerves. It also helps nerves transmit their messages.
Each condition affects a different part of your nervous system:
MS damages the central nervous system. That’s the brain and spinal cord.
GBS damages the peripheral nervous system. That’s the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. They help the central nervous system communicate with the rest of your body, including the skin, heart, and muscles. Chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP) is closely related to GBS with many of the same symptoms, but CIDP lasts much longer and if not caught earlier enough, can cause lasting effects.
It's very rare for someone to have MS and GBS at the same time. But it has happened. Experts say it may be a coincidence. But both diseases share causes that might trigger them together.